Give Christianity pride of place in Religious Education
The Department of Education (DoE) has recently come under legal pressure to include ‘non-religious’ worldviews in the new Religious Studies (RS) GCSE.
Ruling against the DoE, High Court judge, Mr. Justice Warby, claimed that the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, made "an error of law" when she left "non-religious worldviews" out of the new Religious Studies GCSE.
The Judge asserted that, by not including such views in its Religious Studies curriculum, the Department was failing in its duty to ensure that knowledge was conveyed in a pluralistic manner.
But, by any common sense standard, this dubious ruling makes a mockery of the definition of religion, which is recognised as: "an organised system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god (God) or a group of gods."
Thus, the Judge's call for greater representation of "non-religious worldviews" in Religious Studies classes is, by its very definition, contradictory and wholly unreasonable.
And, in any case, the current situation is already in disarray, with half of the RS GCSE syllabus focused on philosophy and ethics, rather than on the study of the things of God.
In fact, the new syllabus requires an in-depth study of two faiths – choosing from Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism – which comprises half of the GCSE. The remainder of the course, as alluded to, is focused on philosophy and ethics.
As such, calls for greater inclusion of non-religious worldviews will only further marginalise an already marginalised subject.
It is important that the Department of Education does not cave-in to pressure and dilute religious education by putting greater emphasis upon non-religious worldviews. Perhaps, the DoE could recommend that such non-religious worldviews be taught in another setting in school, so that genuine religious studies remain as a robust part of the curriculum.
Thankfully, the Department of Education stated, last week, that it might apply to the Court of Appeal over the High Court Judge's ruling, because it disagreed with “some aspects” of his decision.
Such an appeal could also give the Secretary for Education an opportunity to review the dimunition of Christianity within the new syllabus.
Given the dominance of Christianity in British history, culture and politics, and given the fact that the Church of England is still the official state church, the marginalisation of Christianity, within the RS curriculum, makes no sense at all.
This petition, which will be sent to the Secretary for Education, Nicky Morgan, encourages her to make two concrete actions: 1) Resist the further introduction of non-religious worldviews into Religious Studies courses; and, 2) Give pride of place to Christianity in the Religious Studies curriculum, by making it one of the two required religions which must be studied.
Please sign this important petition. Thank you!
Sign this petition now!
Resist further non-religious worldviews in RS/Give Christianity pride of place in RS syllabus